Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Righteous Kill

posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use.
Profanity:Constant very strong language, crude insults and sexual references
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and explicit situations, rape, reference to child sexual abuse
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, drug use, character deals drugs
Violence/Scariness:Serial killer theme, guns, fights, rape
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:September 12, 2008
DVD Release Date:January 6, 2009
Lowest Recommended Age: Adult
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use.
Profanity: Constant very strong language, crude insults and sexual references
Nudity/Sex: Sexual references and explicit situations, rape, reference to child sexual abuse
Alcohol/Drugs: Drinking, drug use, character deals drugs
Violence/Scariness: Serial killer theme, guns, fights, rape
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Movie Release Date: September 12, 2008
DVD Release Date: January 6, 2009

Has there ever been a cinematic pairing as eagerly anticipated as this one? Perhaps, but I can’t think of one that has been anticipated as long. Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro were both in 1974’s “The Godfather II” but their storylines encompassed different generations and there was no overlap. They both starred in “Heat” 21 years later, but shared only one scene. A mere 13 years after that, we finally get to see them together at last, starring in “Righteous Kill” as New York City detective partners investigating a serial killer who might be a cop. In real life, we have been waiting for a long time to see them together but in the parallel universe of the movie, DeNiro and Pacino have been partners for three decades and are each other’s closet friends and most respected colleagues. The pleasure of the movie is not in its predictable story but in seeing two of the greatest actors of our time play with and off of each other on screen, especially in the unimportant moments that give you a sense of a lifetime of connection and understanding.


That’s just about the only pleasure, though. The ending is predictable, the progress toward it derived from any of a dozen of interchangeable cop films. DeNiro and Pacino connect and compete, DeNiro cooling down and Pacino heating up. But we’re watching them, not their characters. They get some solid support from John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg as a rival team of younger detectives with some personal and professional gripes, but Brian Dennehy looks worn in the under-written over-used character of the exasperated lieutenant and Carla Gugino’s forensic detective is a fantasy figure — too young and too kinky for this kind of set-up. Except for 50 Cent, who can’t act a smidge, the actors are game but the script is tired.

  • Dustin Putman

    Oh, Nell, you’re all too kind!

  • Keith Demko

    Hi Nell .. I decided to pass on this one for at least a week, and now I’m glad I did .. I actually stopped by to see if you had seen the Tyler Perry flick .. I just got home from it, and though he may never be a “great” filmmaker, I as usual just had a ton of fun watching it, especially because of Kathy Bates

  • Marvin

    I went to this site with the expectation the there would be good movie recommendations that are appropriate for Christians and their families to watch. What I have found is very disturbing. This movie for example does not hide the fact that it is very violent and sexually twisted. This is not something we as Christians should be filling our minds and souls with. Its called garbage in, garbage out. If anyone knows of a good Christian site that actually recommends movies that God would want us to watch, please leave a post on here so I can take a look. I hate going to movie rental stores weeding through the trash that Hollywood normally puts out. It would be great to find a site that Christians can go to, and find out which movies to rent quickly and easily. Thanks in advance! Marvin

  • Nell Minow

    Thank you for your comment, Marvin. This is not a site about movie recommendations “for Christians.” That is too broad a category for any one recommendation to apply to all of them. In my reviews, I try to provide information for all kinds of people so that they can decide what is right for them and their families. It should be clear from my description of movies like “Righteous Kill” that it would not be right for you. While I would not say it is a very good movie, I can well imagine some viewers finding guidance from its portrayal of some thorny moral struggles. And as for what God would want us to watch — I would not presume to know what God wants, but as you well know the Bible is filled with sex and violence and those stories are there to instruct and inspire us.
    My good friend Brandon Fibbs reviews movies for Christianity Today, and those reviews might be more of what you are looking for. My best wishes to you and your family and I really appreciate your taking the time to write. I welcome your comments any time.

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